Doing a 180: Syd Barrett, Saturday Night Fever, and Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014
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Doing a 180: Syd Barrett, Saturday Night Fever, and Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life

It’s not what you’d call a hard and fast rule, but when we post an entry in our “Doing a 180” feature to spotlight a new release on 180-gram vinyl, we generally tend to only spotlight one artist at a time. This week, though, we’re playing a little bit of catch-up, so we’re combining a couple of releases into a single piece, a la our weekly Digital Roundup, so hopefully you’ll forgive us for trying to condense what would ordinarily be a trio of posts into a single entry, and please trust us when we tell you that they’re all very much worthy of their own posts…particularly this first one.

Syd Barrett, The Madcap Laughs / Barrett / Opel – There are those whose knowledge of Pink Floyd starts and ends with whatever’s been forced down their throat by classic-rock radio, which means that there are countless casual fans that haven’t a clue about the decidedly psychedelic era when the band was fronted by someone other than Roger Waters or David Gilmour. That said, diving into the back catalog of Syd Barrett is an endeavor which should never, ever start with his solo work, because he’s definitely a musician whose story is best appreciated in chronological order. As such, you should first go check out Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of Secrets, and Relics, and then dive into Barrett’s own output, which really only consists of these three albums: the two studio efforts he released in 1970 – The Madcap Laughs and Barrett – and the 14-track compilation entitled Opel, which was originally released in 1988 and features alternate takes and previously-unreleased songs. They’re an acquired taste, to be certain, but they’re a part of Pink Floyd’s history that every fan of the band should hear.

Saturday Night Fever: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – If ever there was an album that desperately needed to be heard on vinyl rather than on CD or in any sort of digital format, it’s this one. Actually, it’s arguable that it would’ve been equally appropriate if we’d opted to reissue it on 8-track tape, but we wouldn’t advise holding your breath for that to happen, especially not when you should be dancing. (That’s what the song says, after all.) Everyone remembers that the Bee Gees were a big part of the Saturday Night Fever sound, with “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Night Fever,” “More Than a Woman,” “Jive Talkin’,” and the aforementioned “You Should Be Dancing,” but don’t forget about the other artists who got the spotlight on the album, including Yvonne Elliman (“If I Can’t Have You”), Walter Murphy (“A Fifth of Beethoven”), Tavares (“More Than a Woman”), David Shire (“Manhattan Skyline,” “Night on Disco Mountain,” and “Salsation”), Ralph MacDonald (“Calypso Breakdown”), Kool and the Gang (“Open Sesame”), KC and the Sunshine Band (“Boogie Shoes”), MFSB (“K-Jee”), and the Trammps (“Disco Inferno”).

Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life – You probably read all about this tribute album when it received its initial CD and digital release back on March 31, but with Ronnie James Dio’s birthday fast approaching – it’s this Thursday, in fact – we’re finally succumbing to popular demand and releasing the collection on vinyl as a two-album set, too.

Not that you couldn’t find the track listing of the set elsewhere, but if you’re wondering how things will be split up across the sides, here’s how things will be divided out:

Side A

1. Anthrax, “Neon Knights”
2. Tenacious D, “The Last in Line”
3. Adrenaline Mob, “The Mob Rules”
4. Corey Taylor, Jason Christopher, Christian Martucci, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, “Rainbow in the Dark”

Side B

1. Halestorm, “Straight Through the Heart”
2. Motorhead with Biff Byford, “Starstruck”
3. Scorpions, “The Temple of the King”
4. Doro, “Egypt (The Chains are On)”

Side C

1. Killswitch Engage, “Holy Diver”
2. Glenn Hughes, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren, Simon Wright, “Catch the Rainbow”
3. Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy, “I”

Side D

1. Rob Halford, Doug Aldrich, Vinny Appice, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren, “Man on the Silver Mountain”
2. Metallica, “Ronnie Rising Medley” (featuring “A Light in the Black,” “Tarot Woman,” “Stargazer,” and “Kill the King”)
3. Dio, “This Is Your Life”